During late December, the moon appears near brilliant Venus in the evening sky and Mars in the morning sky. Here are the highlights:
December 22: One hour before sunrise, Mars, 18° in altitude in the southeast, is over 8° to the lower left of the waning crescent moon that is 25.9 days old and 16% illuminated. The moon is above a line that connects Zubenelgenubi and Zubeneschamali, the pincers of the Scorpion – on ancient star maps. The lunar crescent is 3.5° to the upper left of Zubenelgenubi.
December 23: One hour before sunrise, Mars, over 18° up in the southeast, is 6° to the upper right of the crescent moon. The old moon is 26.9 days old and only 8% illuminated.
December 28: Nearly a week later than its appearance with Mars, the moon returns to the evening sky in the west. Forty-five minutes after sunset, Venus is 17° in altitude in the southwest. The moon is 2.4° below the planet. The moon is 2.8 days old and 8% illuminated.